Social media has many sides. One of the positive sides is that people have the ability to get news as it breaks. So, one may argue that enlightenment is on the increase. On the other hand, it has quite a number of negative sides such as fake news but my focus today is what I call social media love spam.
Love is a basic human instinct that can easily be skewed towards the positive or negative depending on the context. Well, the smart alecks who understand this fact have decided to use it in the context of luring either sex to their side.
From my personal research, I can conclude that the main target of social media love spammers who are usually guys posing like babes are usually guys.
This is a typical way the plot is hatched. The spammer goes to a favourite social media site and looks for guys (and in a few cases they target ladies) who they believe are well to do or that can at least part with some cash and then they add these guys as friends.
After the friend requests are accepted, they would then send a well (in some cases poorly) written script that usually takes this sort of format:
“Hello, How are you Am Miss Mary by Name 23 years old of age from Cape verde Island is just a number i saw your profile today am very happy to be your friend am very sorry if i embarrassing you, am not always online in this face book .com write me back to my pvt address [ firstname.lastname@example.org] i will be happy to see your respond so that i will send you more of my pictures and i have something very serious to tell you about me Thank Mary.
“Please notes: if you can not write to my e mail address Delete my massage it may not be for you. My E- mail Address [ email@example.com].” (Sic)
The above was sent to me using a pretty lady’s photo as the profile picture. I have published exactly as it was send to me. Poorly written and made no sense but the possibility of a few falling for this cannot be ruled out hence this post.
The next one I would publish is not something you would consider as love spam. However, it is important to still discuss it and I will explain why afterwards. It goes thus:
“I am Elizabeth Davis. Do you need a loan to start up business? Personal loan? Loan for your home improvement? Do you need Debt consolidation loan? Education loan? Car loan? We Offer Loans at a very affordable interest rate 2%. contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with Your Full Name, Amount Needed, Duration, Country, Mobile Number:.. Best Regards Elizabeth Davis.” (Sic)
Imagine a loan offer to a small business owner like me. It would certainly catch my attention but of course I know that it is a huge lie because there are no free meals anywhere, not even in Freetown.
In reality, whoever was behind this format tried to play the emotional game and this is because the profile that sent this message to me had a pretty white lady who looked wealthy and confident. Of course, this is all in a bid to win me over emotionally.
I have asked around and I can confirm that a number of people especially those active on social media get to receive overtures such as these; all trying to play on emotions and guess what? Some still fall by responding and possibly become the next victim.
Now you know why I chose the title ‘social media love spam’. It is basically because all the messages I get, either soliciting for my love or for money are sent through profiles of seemingly beautiful ladies who are interested in me. How hilarious!
Anyway, the big question is what should you do to prevent or even reduce this menace?
- Advise your children and wards: young people will more easily fall prey to this sort of overtures because they are quite curious and might want to respond. So, encourage them to always ignore this type of messages.
- Hit the spam button: One of the easiest things you can do to help the social media platforms catch the spammers is to report situations like these. This will give the site’s algorithm a reason to suspect that account and in most cases action is taken automatically. This is because it will be so difficult to manually monitor over a billion accounts as in the case of Facebook.
- Do not be greedy: I have always maintained most of those that get conned online are themselves guilty of being greedy. Clear yourself of greedy tendencies when using the internet or social media platforms.
According to a Symantec report, Social network spam uses legitimate email notification templates from the social networking sites. The message alleges that the user has some unread messages or pending invites and a fake link is provided.
The bogus link will direct users to a website that forces the download of malicious binaries, purports to be selling cheap enhancement drugs and replica products, pushes fake gambling casino sites, or advertises online adult dating sites, etc.
The hard fact is that the social media platforms and the internet are excellent platforms that have assisted in shrinking the world into a global village where information is now freely available and they indeed impact our lives positively but like every other good things, these platforms are often manipulated to deceive innocent and unwary co-users with a view to defrauding them.
The Internet has its own negative peculiarities and it is, therefore, important that you are informed and also help inform those around you about them so that you can take necessary precautions to safeguard yourself on social media platforms. You must know where to draw the line when confronted with too-good-to-be-true messages online.
Please ensure that neither you nor anyone close to you is the next victim of social media love scammers.
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